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Presidents Elected Without a Majority of Votes

Fourteen candidates have become president of the United States with a popular vote less than 50% of the total cast. Read more about it in this article.
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Fifteen candidates (three of them twice) have become president of the United States with a popular vote less than 50% of the total cast. It should be noted, however, that in elections before 1872, presidential electors were not chosen by popular vote in all states. Adams's election in 1824 was by the House of Representatives, which chose him over Jackson, who had a plurality of both electoral and popular votes, but not a majority in the electoral college. Besides Jackson in 1824, only three other candidates receiving the largest popular vote have failed to gain a majority in the electoral college--Samuel J. Tilden (D) in 1876, Grover Cleveland (D) in 1888, and Al Gore (D) in 2000. The "minority" presidents are listed below.

Votes Received by Minority Presidents

Year President Electoral
percent
Popular
percent
1824 John Q. Adams 31.8%29.8%
1844 James K. Polk (D) 61.8 49.3
1848 Zachary Taylor (W) 56.2 47.3
1856 James Buchanan (D) 58.7 45.3
1860 Abraham Lincoln (R) 59.4 39.9
1876 Rutherford B. Hayes (R) 50.1 47.9
1880 James A. Garfield (R) 57.9 48.3
1884 Grover Cleveland (D) 54.6 48.8
1888 Benjamin Harrison (R) 58.1 47.8
1892 Grover Cleveland (D) 62.4%46.0%
1912 Woodrow Wilson (D) 81.9 41.8
1916 Woodrow Wilson (D) 52.1 49.3
1948 Harry S. Truman (D) 57.1 49.5
1960 John F. Kennedy (D) 56.4 49.7
1968 Richard M. Nixon (R) 56.1 43.4
1992 William J. Clinton (D) 68.8 43.0
1996 William J. Clinton (D) 70.4 49.0
2000George W. Bush (R)50.347.8

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